Brian, at the great Weasel Zippers blog, posted a video clip from Barack Obama’s press conference earlier today in which the President did his best to convince the American people that his every waking moment is consumed with the Gulf oil spill. Reminiscent of the scene in The Caine Mutiny where Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) sits at the head of the table in the officer’s mess and tries to convince his shipmates that he isn’t a bad guy – that even his dog likes him – President Obama recounted the heart-wrenching, emotion-drenched interaction he had with his daughter this morning while he was shaving.
It was as relevant as it was tender – as plastic as it was nauseating, in a “listen-to-the-violins” sort of way – and it shed a revealing light on the Commander-In-Chief, the man of the people, the One.
Said the President:
And so my job right now is just to make sure that everyone in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning, and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill. And it’s not just me, by the way. When I woke up this morning and I’m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peaks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?’”
If, after reading those words, you didn’t weep instantly, you have no soul.
And while Obama’s performance this afternoon conjured up a scene in a fifty-six year old movie for me, in Brian’s mind, it conjured up the words of another disastrous President bringing up the concerns of his daughter on the national stage.
Thirty years ago, it was Jimmy Carter, who said:
I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day before I came here, and I asked her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weapons.
If, after reading those words, you didn’t retroactively weep instantly, you have no soul.
By contrast, my own kids would probably be thought of as cold-blooded, heartless wads of selfish flesh since they’d be more likely to ask, “Did the President bankrupt the country yet, Daddy?”
“Will there be any money left in my paycheck for me to take home when I grow up and start working, Daddy?”
“What else is Obama going to take over, Papa?”
It’s interesting how Malia Obama asked her Dad if he plugged the hole.
“Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?”
To those paying attention, the answer, obviously, is “no.”
I heard both Janet Napolitano and Mrs. Obama speaking as recently as today.
(Feel free to insert your own punch line here).
Incidentally, it was gracious of the President of the United States to take the time to thank the literally thousands of people who have been working on trying to end the Gulf oil spill – everyone from first responders to engineers, from scientists to consultants – risking their lives, investing extraordinary amounts of time and energy, expending blood, sweat and tears to try and plug up the hole.
Oh wait …